How to Create a Kickass Viral Video


It’s as elusive as a sloth riding a unicorn with a rainbow painted mane, this creature of mythical proportions often called a ‘viral video’.

Marketers often dream of using this beautiful beast to help boost their brand awareness and show off their creative chops to the world. It will have millions of views, be covered in AdWeek and go down in history just under the Oreo Superbowl outage tweet.

So in honour of this mystical and wondrous video, we thought we’d let you in on the best kept secret on how to make one:

Sadly, you don’t. Yup, it’s actually next to impossible to make something ‘go viral’. If someone has told you to go make one, please feel free to let them know your noble quest will take approximately three months however, your Out of Office will be on and they should continue with direct deposits in your absence.

The definition of viral in interweb terms is an image, video, advertisement, etc., that is circulated rapidly on the Internet. So, unless you are a video marketing master of manipulation with powers to control the time-space continuum a la Santa Claus, getting your video around the world in one night just isn’t likely to happen, but for the sake of your three-month vacation mentioned above, we’ll keep that quiet for you.

All that said, with your feet planted firmly in reality, here are five things you can do to encourage your audience as you chase that coveted ‘viral’ reference:

1. Be creative

Look to other successful viral videos for inspiration but in the end, be sure to bring your own flare to it. Few remember the follow-ups to ‘Evolution of Dance’ but most remember the original.

2. Evoke emotion

Nothing kills virality faster than a snooze-fest, heavy selling or product jargon. Use tip #1 to create something that is going to cause a reaction – ideally you know what reaction you want – and work towards pulling that out of your audience. The two most common approaches that work here are of course humour (a la Will it Blend? series) or heartstrings (think Budweiser puppies).

3. Be authentic

Keep in mind, with a viral video, you are creating content that you want people to Share – and while you want to be known as the people who made it, you want to be careful about over branding, over selling or over messaging your audience.

4. Adjust your expectations

Going back to that very first point, you can’t make a video go viral. Understand that what works for one video and audience, may not work the next time. Set realistic performance goals and if it doesn’t take off right away, be patient. Sometimes it takes a while for videos to be found. Which brings us to our last point…

5. Support your video!

If you’re going to invest in video production, be sure you have a plan to disseminate your video that is at least going to get you started. A simple post to your Facebook page isn’t likely to do it for you. Yes, you should do that, but also consider Twitter ads, a hero spot on your website, seeding with influencers or advocates and other more traditional marketing methods.

So while you can’t force a ‘viral’ reaction from your video, there are definitely still a few tricks you can try to get the eyeballs you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to do something a little different and you might end up with something awesome. Like this sloth riding a unicorn with a rainbow painted mane:

Boom Unit is a Waterloo video production company, specializing in creating broadcast quality video content. Interested in hiring a video production agency? Drop us a line at to light the fuse!

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